Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics
October 19th, 2011
06:47 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden, reporter face off over crime statistics

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden had a tense exchange Wednesday with a reporter who questioned him about comments suggesting that if Republicans block a bill aimed at preserving police jobs, rapes and other crimes would increase.

"Do you regret using the rape reference to describe Senate opposition" to the bill, Jason Mattera asked Biden as he left a rally with police unions and others who have faced the budget ax in recent months.

"I didn't use ... no, no, no," Biden responded. "Let's get it straight, guy. Don't screw around with me. Let's get it straight."

"You didn't use a rape reference," said Mattera, of the conservative news organization Human Events.
"No, let me explain," Biden said, pointing toward Mattera. "I said rape was up three times in Flint. Those are the numbers. Go look at the numbers. Murder is up; rape is up; burglary is up. That's what I said."

"And if the Republicans don't pass this bill, then rape will continue to rise?" the reporter asked.
"Murder will continue to rise; rape will continue to rise; all crime will continue to rise," Biden said.
Asked by Mattera whether it was appropriate to use such language, Biden scoffed and walked away
The exchange took place in a crowded hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building.
The conservative blogosphere has been filled with angry commentary in recent days because of Biden's suggestions that Republican opposition to the bill would lead to an increase in rapes and other crimes.

In his speech at Wednesday's rally, Biden said police departments in cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan, have been "literally cut in half" because of budget cuts.

"In many cities, the result has been, and it's not unique, murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up," he said.

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. SAY WHAT!!!

    What did he say wrong? These neocon reporters are still using old tactics of trying to distort what officials are saying.

    October 20, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. jb1963

    Here is a good use of rape. It is what the republicans and the tea party are doing to America.

    October 20, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. maude

    People who see things only in terms of Liberals or Conservatives are dumb Idiots. The USA is looking more like the
    Hatfields and the Macoy's . Stop all this bickering before it is too late.

    October 20, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. wishing

    The Party of Family Values, the Pro-Life Party believes it is worse to be raped, than to be murdered. Somehow, in their world view better for a woman to be killed than murdered. Is this a family honor thing? Is it worse for Joe to mention rape than murder and other violent crimes. Is this reporter some right-wing conservative betraying how similar his readers are to poor, uneducated societies where raped women have dishonored they families and are killed? Someone explain his 'logic' to me, if possible. BTW, I do realise that the Pro-Life plank of the GOTParty pertains to the unborn, not the living.

    October 20, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Marcus

    Pam Smith – So the Police forces (all over the country or only in Democrat controlled areas?) are also the enemy since they have (oh the horror!) UNIONS...
    Get real.
    Yes, most of the time the police arrives AFTER the crime happened (whatever it is), sometimes they arrives WHEN the crime is happening and in very few occasions (thanks to intel or sheer luck or both) they arrive BEFORE the crime happens and can prevent it from happening...
    But to ANY of these actions occurs there's on thing that is needed to happen...
    To have cops on the streets and not in the unemployed lines.

    October 20, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Padraig

    I watched his conference and I would suggest he do the same because it is on tape that he said this.

    October 20, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. Dan

    Democrats don't believe in public safety. They believe in diverting money to entitlements (free cash) to useless Americans who have done nothing for the betterment of themselves or this country. Democrats are great though. YES WE CAN! What an uneducated group of voters.

    October 20, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. Papilosa

    At least he wasn't buying sympathy points in an attempt to bolster his reputation off the back of his dead wife and his luncbox. This guy is an useless embarrasment. What confuses the hell out of me is how , by creating more taxpayer funded union jobs, thsi clown thinks we can tax ourselves out of a recession. Are his supporters really that gullible and stupid?

    October 20, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Lance

    The budget problems the state and local governments have encountered are not dut to a lack of federal funding. They are the direct result of poor financial management at the state and local level. Thank the public sector unions.

    October 20, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Biden's right. This "reporter" has a political agenda and is just trying to get a soundbite/headline.

    October 20, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. HR

    Biden is senile and dumber than ever – a good match for Obummer, together they strive for more union control of our country (vote buying in plain language) together they want us to become another Greece, unable to pay our bills – then their union buddies will take to the streets and a new revolution will start – outcome: America will become a lawless third world country – poverty will become a fact of life – these idiots must be run from office now.

    October 20, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Eric

    @Wishing: "better for a woman to be killed than murdered"


    October 20, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. NVa Native

    Good for Biden!
    We need all the Dems & Independents to stand up to these right-wing corporate funded "always the victim" hacks.
    It's way past time for all of us to say "NO" to them!
    The arrogance of these little people who care nothing for the truth while they claim to be legitimate when their only motivation is to further their narrow self-serving political ideology needs to be addressed by all of us.
    Just say NO to the GOP/neo-con never ending lies & deception!

    October 20, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Strangways

    Another overly-aggressive hack for a conservative rag – they are turning American politics into a circus. Guess he makes his "living" hassling non-Republicans, then goes home to a gray 1-room walkup, or still lives with his mommy – who no doubt ties his bowtie for him every morning. What a loser. And why is this inconsequential exchange even considered news?

    October 20, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Sci1

    To Pam Smith and anyone who says police don't prevent rapes and murders: You are wrong. Having worked in the forensic world, I can assure you that increased police presence does prevent some crimes. The concept of deterents is not a new idea. Maybe you should take a criminal justice class.

    October 20, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Democrats don't believe in public safety. They believe in diverting money to entitlements (free cash) to useless Americans who have done nothing for the betterment of themselves or this country."

    Hopefully you are including the federal funds which go to all those states which take in more federal dollars than they give back? You know the ones ... those "red" states being run by Republican controlled state legislatures? If not, your argument loses its impact before you ever hit the "post" button.

    October 20, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Inrealityhere

    @Sci 1 "If you cut law enforcement, crime will go up. This is not an illogical statement." What IS illogical is that the left is all for cutting the bible and religion out of schools and the fabric of society and then use scare tactics to try to get people to believe only the government can protect them. Let's get right down to the truth: Crime will go DOWN when parents take personal responsibility for their own children and teach them there is a God and His truth is found in the bible and Christ. If that offends you then it further clarifies why we have a problem in this country. It should be no surprise to anyone that as we fall further and further away from God crime rises.

    October 20, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Inrealityhere

    I hope CNN will post my previous comment even though I used the words God and Christ (gasp!) in a favorable way.

    October 20, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Democrat Class Warfare wrote:
    The Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats have created the most hostile environment for business that this country has ever seen. How many businesses have they demonized, attacked, over taxed, over regulated, hauled into hearings, threatened, bludgeoned, taken over, destroyed? And then they wonder where the jobs are????
    I hope you know that your credibility is absolute zero until you can cite some facts. I know cheerleading goes over really big on the right wing, which explains Palin's power over you, but mad, rabid cheerleading is pretty much ignored by the mainstream of society. If you really want to help what you believe in, then produce some actual, verifiable facts. Because what you are doing now only turns off the very people you need to convince to see things your way.

    October 20, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Inrealityhere

    Thank you CNN!

    October 20, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Indy

    How do you expect Republicans to understand something so simple like less police presence equals more crime. Republicans have believed for the past ten plus years that giving to the rich creates a vibrant economy,and having been proved 100% wrong they continue to fight for the rich and destroy the middle class.

    October 20, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Bob Ramos

    VP Biden is completely correct. Anytime you cut the police force, crime goes up. That is elementary. Why? That much less deterence to crime. Even idiots like the reporter have to know that.

    October 20, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. tv22

    This constant vilification of one side by the other has to stop. Nobody wants more crime. Nobody is going to make women die on the floor. I guess when your solutions fail, you have to resort to extremes.

    October 20, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. rapierpoint

    Ok, let's say that crime statistics are up in Flint. There are several additional questions that our VP needs to answer. What has been the crime rate statistics over the past decade? If it's been trending up over a long period of time, you can't say it's because police have been fired. Also the VP needs to answer how many police have been fired over this 3X crime increase that he cites? Also, what is his methodology that he used to decide it was solely because police have been fired? What portion of the increased crime may be due, simply, to the fact that the economy is in the dumpster? Generally, when you have a bad economy and high unemployment, crime goes up, regardless of whether police have been fired or not. The VP needs to quit playing politics and give a clear picture of what's actually happening.

    October 20, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. John Ellis

    Gee, when you have to cut law enforcement and regulatory oversight because of the right wing's anti-government mania, then crime – of both the violent and economic kind – rise. Republicans and their pets live in a fantasy world.

    October 20, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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